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The Worst Money Making Sites On The Web: Part 1

Mar 2, 2008
This weekend was an eye opening experience. If I didn't know any better I could have sworn I was experiencing Déjà vu. This was a repeat performance of something I experienced a year ago around this same time. You see I had a prospect call me with some legitimate web site questions. When I looked into the type of site she had my red flag went up.....

I was staring at another Travel web site. Here is a company that was offering travel packages to exotic places around the world. This business was interesting to me for a number of reasons. The stock photography on this site was something that you can purchase off of any number of sites including, http://Dreamstime.com, Tony Stone Images and so on. The guts behind these pages were nonexistent.

Need And Desire

In the Midwest we are facing one of the worst recessions in recent memory. Is traveling to a remote and exotic location the first things on peoples minds? I mean honestly, people are losing their homes left and right in Michigan. The banks are calling the shots. Businesses are getting their doors locked due to failure to pay rent. I recently saw a tanning company with a, "DO NOT ENTER" sticker placed on the front doors. The city had confiscated everything inside this place including shampoos, displays, wall paintings, and even the cash register.

...and you want to send me to Cancun? Really.

What Was This Site Missing?

Two things about this site got my immediate attention. The core look of it centered around a FLASH animation. This set off all sorts of red flags with me. It was the main element on this page. I have written about Flash in the past and this is basically invisible to search engines on the web. The other thing was that the elaborate javascript drop down menus on this site are equally as invisible as the Flash animation. This is a bad deal all around.

This company was against you tampering with it in any way. In fact, you had to get permission from them to create another site that would refer this site and you couldn't use any of their branding. You had to create a completely different site altogether and try to link it to this main corporate site. My question here is why not start your own travel company? I mean if you have to do all of this work you are better off starting your own mass affiliate program right? You want to put yourself at the top of the heap and then sell off these mini sites.

Most of the time the lead capture goes straight to main office. It totally slips right by you as the business owner. I am sure there are reasons for doing it this way. Maybe they have a seasoned staff of professional closers. But to me this is a terrible way to conduct business. To top it all off you still have to pay for this hosting account that in my opinion, from a search engine standpoint, is completely worthless. And there are many different business models that follow this type of set up.

Any web site that is MLM based usually suffers from this type of infrastructure. These are totally missing the point of being found on the Internet. Here is a list of sites I have seen in the past 4 years that follow this type of set up:

* Legal services
* Vitamins
* Financial services
* Insurance companies
* Financial freedom sites
* Health benefits

There are some just to name a few. These sites are really missing the point. And because there are so many of these cookie cutter sites with very little to offer search engines it is a good chance that they will avoid getting indexed. This leaves you paying the bill every month, faithfully, trying to score on the Internet. This type of devotion only leads you down a bottomless money pit.

Making money on the web takes a little more than cookie cutter web sites and motion graphics. You need to have real guts on your site and be positioned to take more online real estate. Your static five pages are not going to cut the mustard.

You will most likely need supportive sites to help grease the wheels. This is going to help you get found but this is also going to take a heck of lot of work. Maybe more work than you had originally anticipated. You should get a couple of sites that are strictly HTML based. You will have to link these sites together to support the one site you bought through the travel company. Think of it as life support.

I am always amazed to find people who take this easy route. The hosting for one of these sites is around $17 a month. Out of that they claim you can earn a 6 figure income. It's a nice fantasy.

But from a strategic business position I would not invest in it like that. I know from experience that I am going to have to beef this up if I want to make any kind of real impression online.
About the Author
Ted Cantu runs iMobile Media, http://www.1seomichigan.com/articles and works out of NYC, Chicago, and Detroit, Michigan. He has the number 12 podcast show on www.podomatic.com you can listen to it here... http://911copywriter.podomatic.com
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